Another week begins, and already I'm anticipating the end. Mainly because I know what comes at the end of the week. Certainty is a luxury that I can no longer afford. Along with most things.
My whole life has been a reassuring pattern, a nicely drawn map. Somewhere around July 2009 I fell off the end of it. Not applying for jobs while at university was a decision I possibly regret, but that's what life is about once you have to make your own map. That horribly cheesy valedictorian speech Jessica gives in Eclipse is all about how important it is to make mistakes and do things you don't want to do in order to know what you do what to do. Do the wrong course at university. Work for the horrendous company. Date the massively inappropriate man.
That's apparently what your twenties are supposed to be about. Not worrying about first jobs, paying off loans, considering pensions and savings plans, freezing eggs, losing that 'studying stone' (gained from years of eating Pot Noodles at 3am) and finding your future husband by the time you're twenty-five.
Fuck it. I just want to have some fun.
And as for the 'studying stone', I was having a look through the sizes of a dress I liked in Primark, and, weirdly, was a tad freaked out by the idea of a size 8. Not that I am. But for the first time in a long time, I'm happy with my body. (Sorry) There's a great article in this month's Glamour which is a series about body image. One of the submissions is from a man who describes his now-wife, whom he describes as a Joan Holloway-alike with the confidence to match. The article, from the thin girl wishing she had curves to the former male model who gained his bodyweight from bingeing, dealt with a catalogue of hangups. But what it really came down to, of course, is confidence. Once the thin girl stopped apologising for not having curves, once the former model dealt with his issues, and once the Joan...actually no, there was nothing wrong with her, they were happy. And given how many other problems there are in my life right now, not being a size 8 is not in my priorities.
And it shouldn't be. A single digit size is for models, for sixteen year olds. I'm never going to be a model and I remember being sixteen and I remember looking much the same as I do now. I've been thinner than this, I've been a good deal fatter than this, but while so many other things are up in the air, I'd rather not have to worry about what I see in the mirror. And I don't. Because it's who I am, it's what I'm going to have to look like for a good few years, and it's what someone is going to have to love someday.
So that's me. I was a tad cold. I have awkward legs, which were once described as 'rancid' by some schoolboys on a joke podcast and which is a comment I'll still remember. My skin goes blotchy in the cold, and my nose goes bright red. My hair still doesn't do what I tell it. I'll never be perfect. But I'll never be cookie-cutter. No-one really is.